Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cut the Steeks!

Come to think of it, I've actually cut steeks on two projects in the last couple of weeks. The first project had the more challenging steek but the less nerve-wracking cut, oddly enough. I believe EZ famously recommended the benefits of a dark room and a stiff drink after cutting steeks. Happily, neither were needed here.

In just under a week's time, Lismore went from this:

to this:

For the steeks, I alternated the colors as the pattern called for, ending up with a checkerboard-type pattern. Then I did something I've never done before: just cut. That's right, I didn't reinforce the steek before touching scissors to fabric. I'll tack down the edges once I've knit up the sleeves and the collar but for now it's just a raw edge.

Of course, I haven't touched this sweater since snapping that picture since I've been distracted by other things.

This little Wisp scarf (Ravelry link) is a fantastic way to use that stray skein of malabrigo lace.

While others have complained that the simple lace pattern gets a bit mind-numbing, I've yet to see it because of how much I adore this particular yarn. Even the garter stitch sections are delicious. I'm omitting the buttons and buttonholes but am otherwise knitting the pattern as written.

My current evening tv knitting is Staghorn (Ravelry link) from Lisa Lloyd's lovely book A Fine Fleece.

I'm using a lovely merino/alpaca blend worsted weight yarn from Frontier Fiber Mill that I picked up at the Midwest Folk & Fiber Festival in July. My stitch gauge is a bit smaller than the pattern calls for, which will be nice since I'd be swimming in the smallest pattern size. So far, I'm knitting the pattern as written, although I plan to make the sleeves narrower than the pattern calls for.

What was that other steeked project? No, I haven't forgotten (nor did I count the Starmore twice). The last project worth mentioning today is a little experiment I've been working on:

This is a simple striped pullover knit with seamless, simultaneous, set-in sleeves using Barbara Walker's fantastic book Knitting from the Top Down. That picture is a bit misleading since I've been working on the bottom ribbing while uploading the pics for this post, but you get the idea. What a great technique! (More on that later when I've finished the sweater.) I wanted a v-neck but didn't like the idea of knitting flat more than I absolutely had to so I decided to steek the neck. To do this, I just increased along the neck edges outside of the steek stitches. Once the body of the sweater is done, I'll pick up and knit the ribbing from the edge stitches.

Unlike Lismore, which had two colors in each row and yarn fibers that really liked to stick together, this sweater (made from Nature Spun Worsted) uses yarn that is smoother and has only one color in any given row. Because of this, I decided to sew a reinforcing line of backstitching on either side of the center line the steek to keep the edges from unravelling when I cut. If I wanted to be really careful, I would have waited to cut the steek until I was finished with the rest of the garment. But the whole point of a top-down sweater is to be able to try the piece on as you work and cutting the steek at the end would have defeated the purpose of this construction. So snip, snip I went. Everything looks safe and secure for now and I'll tack down the edges after I knit the neck band.

I've got to run but I'll leave you with evidence that my spinning wheel has seen some good use this summer. 1050 yards of 2-ply merino/silk heavy laceweight spun from 8oz of fiber:

1 comment:

Toni said...

Fabulous post. You cut w/o reinforcements. I got a little wave of queasy uggy and the chills when I read that. HA! Love the Whisp scarf. GREAT projects.

I pour the drink and have it handy for after I cut.. I am a newby steeker.